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Vomiting and morning sickness

Nausea and vomiting are common in the early stages of pregnancy. This is often referred to as morning sickness, although it can occur at any time of day or night.

Morning sickness is unpleasant and can affect your day to day life, however it usually disappears by weeks 16 to 20 of your pregnancy. Complications as a result of morning sickness are rare, so it is not likely to affect your baby.

Severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is known as hyperemesis, this often requires hospital treatment.

You should call your GP, midwife or 111 if you’re vomiting and:

  • have very dark-coloured urine or have not passed urine in more than 8 hours
  • are unable to keep food or fluids down for 24 hours
  • feel severely weak, dizzy or faint when standing up
  • have abdominal pain
  • have a high temperature
  • vomit blood
  • have lost weight

Treatments for morning sickness

There are some lifestyle changes you can make that might ease your symptoms of nausea and vomiting:

  • get plenty of rest (tiredness can make nausea worse)
  • stop smoking – click here for tips on quitting smoking in pregnancy
  • wear loose fitting clothing, as tight clothing around your abdomen may increase symptoms of nausea
  • avoid foods or smells that make you feel sick
  • eat something bland like dry toast or a plain biscuit before you get out of bed
  • eat small, frequent meals of plain foods that are high in carbohydrate and low in fat (such as bread, rice, crackers and pasta)
  • eat cold foods rather than hot ones if the smell of hot meals makes you feel sick
  • drink plenty of fluids, such as water (sipping them little and often may help prevent vomiting)
  • eat foods or drinks containing ginger – there’s some evidence ginger may help reduce nausea and vomiting, although you need to check with your pharmacist before taking ginger supplements during pregnancy
  • try acupressure – there’s some evidence that putting pressure on your wrist, using a special band or bracelet on your forearm, may help to relieve the symptoms

If these do not work for you or you are experiencing more severe symptoms, speak to your GP or midwife.

Useful links

Pregnancy sickness support

Page last reviewed: 22-09-2021

Next review due: 22-09-2024